Nanaimo jeweler Dee Fontans at work in her home studio. Starting Nov. 2 her exhibition Silver Lining comes to Gallery Merrick. (Josef Jacobson/The News Bulletin)

Nanaimo jeweler Dee Fontans holds first local exhibition at Gallery Merrick

Show will feature earrings and pendants with raw and polished gemstones

For her first solo exhibition in Nanaimo, Dee Fontans has hand crafted a series of earrings and pendants that are at once coarse and refined.

“I’m marrying together raw rocks and crystals that just come from the earth, Mother Earth has brought them to us,” the local jewelry maker said. “And then I’m combining them with gems that have been touched by man, so that they’re highly polished, so it’s this kind of contrast.”

Her goal was to create pieces in the style of talismans or heirlooms, considering the meanings behind the stones and “making something that gives the individual … some kind of personal power.”

Fontans is a fourth-generation metal worker. Originally hailing from New Jersey, she taught jewelry making and wearable art at the Alberta College of Art and Design in Calgary for 25 years before moving to Nanaimo in 2016.

This weekend her first Nanaimo show, Silver Linings, comes to Gallery Merrick, the gallery where she also works.

She said gallery proprietor Joe Bembridge suggested she make pieces that strayed from her usual designs and techniques and were inspired by her new home.

“I’m putting together perhaps this sophisticated stone with this more raw, earthy stone, and I’m putting it together because that’s where I am now. I’m taking the experience that I’ve had and I’m melding it together.”

As an impulsive person (she bought her house on her first day in town), Fontans said she was drawn to metalwork because it slows her down and makes her think. She said it can take 40 hours to craft a single piece of jewelry.

“I try and put an energy into the objects that I make that is patient and joyful and grateful,” Fontans said. “And so when I see somebody enjoy that piece, I’m really happy for them because we’re sharing something.”

WHAT’S ON … Opening reception for Silver Lining by Dee Fontans takes place at Gallery Merrick, 13B Commercial St., on Friday, Nov. 2 at 7 p.m. Show runs through the weekend.

Just Posted

B.C. Supreme Court dismisses judicial review around ferry workers’ right to strike

B.C. Ferry and Marine Workers’ Union collective agreement expires November 2020

City of Nanaimo announces winner of street banner design contest

Amy Pye’s artwork shows people living in harmony with the ocean and nature

Nanaimo Mounties to return stolen rifles to owner

Guns had been seized this month by police who found the suspect carrying rifles wrapped in a blanket

Beefs & Bouquets, May 23

To submit a beef or a bouquet to the Nanaimo News Bulletin, e-mail

Nanaimo Timbermen want to keep trending upward

Senior A lacrosse team, coming off a 2018 playoff appearance, about to start 2019 WLA season

600 new campsites coming to provincial parks and recreation sites across B.C.

Tourism Minister announced half of the new spots to 13 most popular provincial parks

Bookfest helps fill school library shelves leading up to next week’s event

Vancouver Island Children’s Book Festival is June 1 at downtown Nanaimo venues

Municipalities protest after B.C. declares marijuana crops ‘farm use’

UBCM president seeks answers in letter to John Horgan government

CMHC defends mortgage stress test changes amid calls for loosening rules

Uninsured borrowers must now show they could service their mortgage if rates rose two per cent

B.C. woman left ‘black and blue’ after being pushed off 40-foot cliff at lake

West Shore RCMP looking for witnesses as investigation continues

Christmas morning burglar sentenced in Nanaimo

Justin Redmond Feusse, 20, sentenced to 240 days in jail for Christmas day break-and-enter

RCMP searching for missing Vancouver Island teenager

16-year-old Lasheena Seward was reported missing from a group home in Port Alberni

Nanaimo astronomers can hear about ultraviolet telescope’s galactic calculations

Canada’s space telescope to look at blue end of light spectrum to unveil mysteries of the universe

UPDATE: Suspected drunk driver crashes into line-painting truck on the highway in Nanaimo

Crash happened at 1 a.m. Wednesday on the Trans-Canada Highway near Duke Point Highway

Most Read